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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 22, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 17
Beware of North Carolina and Mississippi, British government warns travelers
Section One
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Beware of North Carolina and Mississippi, British government warns travelers

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

British travelers to the United States should beware of North Carolina and Mississippi, the UK's Foreign Office warned in a new travel advisory.

In the past, the Foreign Office - the British equivalent of the U.S. State Department - has advised LGBT Brits to 'take care abroad' but had no specific caution on travel to the United States.

The new travel advisory states that 'Laws vary from state to state. When you are physically present in a state, even temporarily, you are subject to that state's laws...

'The US is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country. LGBT travelers may be affected by legislation passed recently in the states of North Carolina and Mississippi. Before travelling please read our general travel advice for the LGBT community. You can find more detail on LGBT issues in the US on the website of the Human Rights Campaign.'

HRC issued a statement lamenting the necessity of the travel advisory on April 20.

'It is both frightening and embarrassing that one of our nation's staunchest allies has warned its citizens of the risks of traveling to North Carolina and Mississippi because of anti-LGBT laws passed by their elected officials,' said Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global.

'It is now more clear than ever that these terrible measures are not only harming individuals and taking an economic toll on the states but are also causing serious damage to nation's reputation and the perceived safety of LGBT people who travel here.'

North Carolina's HB 2 has eliminated existing municipal nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future.

In addition, the legislation bars Transgender people from using public restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity, and it revokes the ability to sue under state nondiscrimination laws on the basis of any protected characteristic, including race, religion, national origin, and sex.

In Mississippi, the so-called 'Religious Liberty Accommodations Act,' or HB 1523, would allow individuals or organizations to use religion to justify discrimination against LGBT people in many areas, including the right to refuse service to LGBT people.

Under HB 1523 schools, employers, and service providers could refuse Transgender people access to appropriate sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity.

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